Gathering flotsam

The hallway fire extinguisher is named Badger

And the rounded effigies on the first floor vending machine lack 

The appropriate replica for diet coke

So someone hand-wrote the words on a piece of paper and stuck it there

In the rounded plastic

slot signifying all the real ones inside

While outside 

The wind beckons

So real, so deep, night-real, night-deep

The way you might pick up pieces

Of sand dollars along the beach as light falls beneath the western

Horizon

Counting each–a quarter, a dime, or half-dollar

Fraction of the living

Miracle of ocean, deep and full of

things bigger than us

Bigger than either diet coke or Badger or

The things that would keep a body awake

In the deep

Of night

While outside the wind still beckons

Singing lullabies in siren voices

To the sleepless 

Us

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Dear Jason Rosenthal,

Don’t worry–I am not writing to-nor will ever attempt to–marry you.

I read your wife’s letter and I think I have something better than a prematurely offered new spouse.

Prayer.

I will be praying for you and Amy and your three beautiful children.  The ordeal you are all going through sounds scary and harrowing.

So…prayer…prayer to a Person who I believe to be real, eternal and prone to the miraculous.

Because…more?

Nothing is “more”  than the kind of love that…

Confronts death
So, prayer…in the hope that your love with your current wife will last forever.

And the understanding that whatever happens, no wife as wonderful as Amy can be easily replaced.

E.

Ordinary Seduction

By  some inexplicable quirk of middle-age

I see the couple clearly-

Silent in the breakfast nook except for

the clink of spoons on ceramic bowls 

a regular crunch of cereal

They two alone in a room filled with light

not meeting

the gaze of the other

Because of ordinary seduction,

The old-ass Latin kind,

Where there is no longer even the lingering whiff of sexual connotation 

Only the word itself in primal 

dark splendor-

Adrift, led astray, removed

These

Soldiers pointed down the wrong path 

or lovers lost at sea

Where the simplest accident of seduction

Could drive this tiny boat off course

In an endless and unforgiving 

Sea.

The Moon Has Teeth

The clouds are an old quilt

torn and soft with bits of stuffing 

poking through the worn stitching 

double-ring

And the moon grins 

Teeth gleaming through

Celestial Jack o’lantern 

A child in the winter night

Light held aloft, blanket in hand

trailing off to bed

Only to find

A catenary pillow fort of luminous

Stars to the end of time

3:03 am

if you were to ask me why

Am I up at 3 am

I would say it is because of:

The missing victims’ impact statements

The juvenile probation officer who said, “well, we can’t keep him forever”

(Like the rape of children ain’t no thang in the great state o’ Tejas)

The count prosecutor who proved wormholes in the fabric

Of the universe 

By simple recounting in court

The  drole one

About inadvertently possessing a marijuana tree

For awhile anyway, until his peace officer friends pointed out 

It’s general unferniness.

The municipal prosecutor they made up

To save themselves and not the little girl

Whose deliberately misplaced name still drives this mother-rage 

Against all the feckless adults who should have

Known better.